The collection of watches in the Ashmolean came to the Museum largely as a result of three major bequests, including the Bentinck Hawkins collection in 1894, the bequest of J Francis Mallet in 1947 and the collection of Eric Bullivant in 1974, comprising 120 watches. Together these make the Ashmolean collection one of the most important outside London. The history and development of watch design and decoration is extremely well-served, with many important examples dating from the sixteenth century to those made in the mid-nineteenth century. This handbook explores thirty of the best from the collection.
David Thompson studied clock and watch making at Hackney College, East London between 1977 and 1979. He became an assistant curator in the Horological Section in 1979 and has been senior curator of horology since 1995. David has responsibility for about 7,000 objects, including about 1,000 clocks, 4,500 watches and other horological materials.